WELL, this issue about corruption in government which administration critics are throwing against the administration in these dying days of the Duterte regime.
We cannot help but recall an anecdote about two best friends who were classmates from high school to college and took the same course. They were inseparables and they confided with each other their ambition after college. One said he would enter government service by running as mayor of his place. The other, not to be outdone, also expressed his desire to become mayor or governor.
After five years one of the two communicated with the other and invited him to visit him as he was already mayor of his place. The other did not hesitate to accept the invitation and when he arrived at the residence of his friend, he was amazed at the luxurious house complete with large swimming pool and with luxury cars inside its garage. After taking their lunch the two friends settled in a costly couch and recalled their good old days. The visiting friend took the opportunity to ask his host how in so short a time, he managed to acquire all those expensive properties. The answer of the host was short, simple and direct. He told his visitor, “See that huge bridge over there? 20 percent my friend.” The visitor could only shake his head in disbelief.
Two years after it was the time for the other friend to invite his former classmate and host. He told him he ran for governor of his province and won, and he is now extending his own invitation to his friend. When the latter arrived at the residence of the new governor the former host was in awe seeing the house of his friend, a mansion two times bigger than his own. The swimming pool was Olympic size with comfort rooms having hot and cold water flowing. His friend’s cars were all SUVs of the latest model and imported brands. The house was built on a one hectare overviewing location.
It was now the visitor friend’s time to ask basically the same question he was asked by his friend now a governor. “Wow friend! How did all these things happen? Your only less than 3 years in office and you’ve got all of these?”
The answer was also quick and direct. Without batting an eyelash of hesitancy, the host told his visitor: “See that bridge over there; that esplanade on the right?” The visiting mayor opened his eyes wide but could not see any bridge or esplanade. “Where are the bridge and esplanade friend? I have not seen any, not even a single post.” The governor’s answer plastered the visiting mayor. “One hundred percent my friend.”
Well, as we said earlier, this is only an anecdote. But an honest-to-goodness recollection of the country’s not so-long-ago history would tell us it did happen. One was a World Bank loan-funded highway. Others were nationally-funded but located in an area then considered a “no man’s land.” When the later shenanigans were discovered by auditors, they were given only two options. One was to receive envelopes and go home. The other was they’d likely forever remain in the province.
We were not told what option was taken. But the guy who told us was a close friend of one of the auditors. How did he know? Well we can only assume the auditors concerned came back alive to tell their story. Conclusion?
Last week we got it from reports on national television and newspapers that there were two successive buy-bust operations conducted by combined law enforcement agents. In both operations the authorities were able to confiscate billions worth of illegal drugs. One by-bust was conducted in Cavite and the other earlier operation was conducted in Bataan.
As reported the confiscated illegal drugs were attributed to a still unbusted drug syndicates that may have been operating clandestinely in the country. What then do all of these mean?
Simple; the approach used by the government is not effective even after almost six years that a so-called iron-clad strategy is in place by the administration. Change the approach? Well, it may already be too late. Time is closing in on the administration. Of course if the administration has one or two last aces up on its sleeves and will let these out for a possible shot at redemption, an ignominious failure could still be avoided being written in the country’s history in its fight against illegal drugs.
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